Borrow the Language of God
“What language shall I borrow to thank you, dearest Friend, for this, your dying sorrow, your mercy without end? Lord, make me yours forever, a loyal servant true, and let me never, never outlive my love for you.” These lines come from a Medieval Latin poem, and the writer had found that language alone failed to show his love for Jesus and his grace. Today, as back then, many find difficulty in expressing their love in language alone. Lip service remains empty of love unless accompanied by caring actions.
This year, my home congregation’s scripture theme calls us to think on excellent things, which in turn leads us to virtuous living, a language those around us understand. As we think about New Year resolutions, new church goals, and caring for those within our circle of acquaintances, let’s consider the visionary resolutions God has already outlined for his people. At the end of this article, read how one Puerto Rican woman exercised the language of love and obedience to comfort one of God’s babes in his kingdom.
A vast difference lies in doing more for Jesus and being more like Jesus. God calls us to resolve to be his love where we live: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength . . . Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
Right before the resurrected Jesus returned to the Father, he also charged and challenged the faithful: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Resolutions made for a lifetime and sanctioned by God are much better than weak human resolutions carried out through sheer will power for two weeks or a month. Why not try the lifetime, God-approved ones. If every reader resolved to love his neighbor, in language and actions, this year would bring the comfort and care many need.
A true story from Charisma magazine (1996) illustrates the power of such love: A Puerto Rican woman became a Christian in the United States, and even though she didn’t speak English, she longed to express her new faith and love for the Lord. The church minister asked her to ride on one of their buses each week. Soon she only wanted to ride one bus because she’d found a tiny, neglected boy who tugged at her heart. Each week, she held him on her lap and said the only English words she knew, “Jesus loves you. I love you.”
For weeks, the boy never spoke a word to her. Yet, Sunday after Sunday, she gathered him in her arms, held him, and in beautiful broken English said, “Jesus loves you. I love you.” One Sunday, he finally stammered back, “I . . . I love you, too.” That same Sunday evening, authorities found his body beneath a staircase at a rundown apartment building. His abusive mother had finally beaten him to death. Some of the last blessing-words he heard that day were from an obedient woman who simply gathered the child in her warm arms and assured him of God’s love and her love.
Sometimes words fail us. We simply aren’t capable through language alone to reach others. However, when the language of love combines with the language of active kindness, God can multiply that kind of offering to feed one or a multitude.
In 2012, borrow the language of God. Ask him to write it on your heart, and then watch for opportunities to serve. Your service may be something as innocent as taking a scarred child into your lap and whispering, “Jesus loves you. I love you.”
Index card verse for week 52: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” (Revelations 3:20). You may contact Cathy at www.cathymessecar.com